Matt O’Connor admitted that Leicester Tiger were “second best” in defeat against Worcester Warriors on Saturday.
Warriors outscored their hosts five tries to three as they celebrated a first-ever win at Welford Road.
“It’s disappointing, we were second best for most of it,” said Tigers head coach O’Connor after a 31-27 defeat.
“I thought we fought back quite well in the last 20 minutes, but we ran out of time. The lads were still going for the win in the last minute of the game, but we gave them too much of a start.”
Warriors led 12-0 after just seven minutes and added another try to lead 19-17 at half-time after scores from Mike Fitzgerald and Sam Harrison had dragged Tigers back into the game. Two more tries in the second period gave Warriors a 31-20 lead before a 78th-minute try from Gareth Owen provided a lifeline for the home side who were on the attack again before a loose pass finally brought an end to the contest.
“They took their chances well and we were a bit inaccurate across the board,” said O’Connor. “They were very difficult to break down defensively but we had a few opportunities in their 22 which we did not execute on and that gave them that boost. The soft score we conceded in the second half was probably the turning point.”
The home crowd felt the third Worcester score, from wing Josh Adams, had come from a forward pass, though the referee did not ask for any assistance from the television match official as he signalled a try and full-back Chris Pennell quickly took a drop-kick conversion.
“Why they don’t they check, I don’t know,” said O’Connor. “But that’s game, there are no complaints, they were the better side and got the points.
“Just because you’re playing here and wearing the Tigers shirt does not mean you win automatically. We didn’t deserve it today and didn’t get the four points we needed.
“But there were still some good performances in the team and in the second half we had a lot of field position and plenty of ball at their end of the field. We just needed to be a bit more accurate and we looked a bit impatient at times.”
Tigers go to Wasps in Round 10 of the Aviva Premiership season next Saturday (4.30pm) before attention turns to a European double header with Munster. Tickets for home fixtures, including the game against Munster on Sunday, December 17 (5.30pm) and Saracens in the Premiership on Christmas Eve (3.00pm) are on general sale now.